Full Version: To Plan or NOT To Plan
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Isn't it amazing when you're looking at one thing and you see a different one?

One of the ever-churning discussions among worship team leaders and team members is, "to plan or not to plan". This also is discussed between various worship arts teams within a congregation. The other discussion that occurs, primarily between worship teams and pastoral staff, is that if we plan too carefully and thoroughly, how can we expect God to be free to step into our services, or indeed, our lives?!? The silliness about whether or not choreographed dance (or orchestrated music, or scripted services even) all stems from a lack of study of what the Word says about planning, IMO.

Three scriptures in particular have all come to me about this topic while doing some study on something totally different and unrelated. Prov 16:3 in the New Living Translation says, "Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed." And to keep that one in balance, we also find Prov. 19:21 saying, "You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail." The second one does not say "Plan NOT", but rather it says to me that we can make incredibly detailed plans and that God will use it inspite of us! God is not threatened by our puny plans. In fact, if we're praying about our planning, would it not seem spiritually logical that God was guiding us and our plan? [And dare I suggest another few from a very wise man? A paraphrase of Solomon's words haunt me through all of this, that for everything there is a season, a time to plan and a time to wait and see what unfolds without planning. He also remarked regularly through that book that it was all futile. All of his plans were brought to naught! And there's one from Jeremiah, "For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord.] I think God has a plan for plans!

Related to this whole planning concept and our insatiable need for "the new", there has been a revisiting of some favorite materisl. Our Sunday sermons of late (and a long time favorite tape series that's not from our church) have been about Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the city wall. Mind that word: the REbuilding of the wall. Nehemiah was not inventing or reinventing the wall. He was doing again what others before him had done. He was, in essence, making a repeat performance, doing once more that which had been done before. More than likely, he did not find a new hill to build on, or try to define a different city perimeter. He did not shuffle the order of the gates. He probably did add some new materials to replace those which were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. He may have had to make adjustments small and large to accommodate some new spacing. I'd even bet that most of the stones in the wall were no longer adjacent to the ones that were neighbors in the previous version of the wall! They may have been in the same neighborhood, but the addresses may have been shuffled some. B)

The person in charge of building the wall before Nehemiah had his plans essentially set in stone, and yet those plans did not last. Nehemiah's plans also ended up being set in stone and they, too, did not last. Both plans served well for a season. Both plans probably looked remarkably alike and yet were different.

So what's the point of all of this? Planning is not a thing to be avoided. Working without a plan, while dangerous at times, is not necessarily a thing to be avoided either. Planning is not a bad thing. Planning is not the only thing. Planning is just a thing! How does all that apply to us as worshippers and team leaders?

The most important aspect of this is to be careful to include Father in all of it. I'm not talking about praying for hours, fretting and hand wringing about what color of underwear to choose for the day, or which tie to wear. And I'm not criticizing the person whose wardrobe or menu is so regimented that they are predictable to a fault. Just let God into the picture; He can deal with us--because of or in spite of plans!

Songs lists for the music team are good things for a lot of reasons. Do I need to enumerate them? One in particular that is near and dear to my household is that it helps non-music team worship team members understand and prepare for a given service or event. While the music team leader might be comfortable "winging it" other musicians may not be equal to the task. And if no notice is given to dancers, banner folks, flaggers, drama folks, etc., the service might not be all that it could have been had the rest of the greater worship team been informed just a little ahead of time!

Example: Song picker feels strongly that the songs need to focus on Jesus as King. If the pageantry folks know in advance, worship implements can be brought from the storehouse to visually enhance that which is being sung. Crowns, sceptors, heraldic trumpets, kingly banners, royal flags or pennants, that sort of thing. Processionals could be planned, even spontaneous processionals with no hard/fast choreography, but at least knowledge of what the song(s) is about. If no notice is given, the non-music team worship teams are uninformed--not invited to the party! Since God seems to like it when we work together, this is just one more area where we could practice kingdom principles, right?

Stuff to think about.
There is a way to plan and yet not plan in a rigid way.....which is to have a song menu rather than a song list. That still gives direction to the planning for all the arts ministers, but allows for some flexibility for the song leader in the way the songs flow in the service.

We previously started a discussion on that concept in this topic:

<URL url="http://zionfirefriends.com/index.php?showtopic=574">http://zionfirefriends.com/index.php?showtopic=574

It takes a little more effort to prepare a weekly menu rather than a list, but if that menu is shared with other ministers involved in the worship ministry, there is more possibility of cooperative team flow when the song progression in the service takes a bit of a turn here and there.
I had a perfect example a few days ago of the problems caused by not planning. We had to do the same messianic dance twice in a row because we hadn't checked with the musicians what songs they were doing and planned what dances to do. It was definitely not ideal.

Some sort of preparation, in my view, is essential to provide a framework in which God can operate. I've found that things rarely work as well as they could if we don't do a bit of planning. There are some highly anointed people who can probably get away with no planning, but they are few and far between.

It's funny how people who are against preparation (or any sort of presentation or performance in worship) forget that the sermon is normally planned, prepared, and rehearsed, a process which might take half the pastor's working week.


Ah, but Dave, dear Dave, "but you'd think" implies logic & reason, but we're not dealing with logical or reasoned arguements! Big Grin We're dealing with unreasonable and emotional issues that are usually simply repeated after being heard from some source that seems to be speaking from a position of authority or knowledge!

You said framework is key. That's it in a nutshell. It is NOT a box, as some would try to label it, but rather a framework on which all sorts of things can be hung.

And then even if it WERE a "box", I think of so many kids (myself included) who were the glad recipients of a huge big corrugated box from a refrigerator or freezer or similar large object and the enormous amount of glee and amusement that ensued using the box for a play house, a seagoing ship, a big truck, a play-office, and one of my favorites--a tank! Once the box had been played to within an inch of its life and the corrugated was no longer capable of being rigid, we'd get two or three or four kids on hands and knees all making some sort of kiddie engine noises and we'd all crawl in the same direction inside the box. It would roll over small hills and rocks and valleys, just like a track-driven tank. GREAT fun.

Isn't it a great thing when we can actually use our worship or praise music and times to whoop and holler in His presence and just have a great time enjoying Him? And enjoying ourselves IN Him?? Oh, for a framework and permission! Confusednoopy: